Several conspiracy theories are doing the rounds to account for the spate of mail bombs this week sent to prominent public figures associated with the Democrat party.
Thus, it is averred, the perp may have been a pro-Trump ultranationalist, or, alternatively on other the side, opponents of Trump trying to anger people to go and vote Democrat in the mid-term elections two weeks away.
There’s also suspicion that the “deep state” could be trying to smear Trump, and even the Islamist terror group ISIS has been fingered.
A man in Florida with a criminal record has since been arrested over the incidents. It’s not clear what his motivation was.
But what’s rather strange is that the US media have not reported claims that the Kremlin is behind the chaos unfolding this week. At least not yet.
After all, American intelligence agencies, congressional panels and media pundits have been clamoring and assuring the world for the past two years that the Russians – under the direction of “arch-villain” Vladimir Putin – have been systematically interfering in US politics and specifically “sowing divisions” in American society.
Indeed, divisions could not be more apparent in the US than this week’s commotion and recriminations over the mysterious parcel bombs attacks intended for high-profile figures affiliated to the Democrats.
Potentially explosive pipe bombs were mailed to former President Barack Obama and his wife, as well as the Clintons, former vice president Joe Biden and ex-attorney general Eric Holder.
John Brennan, the CIA chief under Obama’s administration, was intended as another recipient of the crude devices, none of which detonated and no-one was injured. Billionaire investor George Soros, a big donor to the Democrats, was targeted by the mail bomber, as was veteran screen actor Robert De Niro.
The CNN news channel’s offices in New York City was also put on alert on two separate days.
In total, 10 suspect devices were sent out this week across the US to prominent figures. More such would-be attacks are said to be feared by various law enforcement authorities.
The common thread to all recipients is that they have been frequently lampooned by President Trump. Oftentimes, Trump has used extreme vitriol bordering on incitement to violence against the individuals and CNN, calling the latter “fake news” and “enemy of the people”.
Admittedly, the purported victims of mail-bomb terrorism this week have engaged in their own inflammatory rhetoric against Trump, urging members of the public to harass any of his administration officials spotted in restaurants or other civic venues.
In response to the letter bombs, Trump condemned “acts of political violence”. He said: “No country can succeed if it accepts political violence.”
That’s hilariously ironic, given that the US accepts and sponsors political violence all the time, massively, around the world. Its backing of the Saudi genocidal war in Yemen being the most salient case in point.
Trump’s apparent repudiation of violence was condemned as “hypocritical” by his opponents in the US, but not for the most glaring reason cited above.
The president appealed for “unity” and urged Americans to “come together”. He said: “Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective.”
Trump has a point there alright. The pro-Democrat news media like CNN, NBC, New York Times and Washington Post have been relentless in their attacks on the president ever since his election in November 2016.
The media onslaught is tantamount to sedition or fostering a coup against the White House. It has been unremitting and often seemingly baseless, such as this week’s report in the New York Times that Chinese and Russian agents are tapping his personal cell phone.
But immediately after taking the moral high ground, Trump quickly charged back into the trenches with his usual nasty vilification against Democrats and their supporters.
America has undeniably become extremely politically polarized and toxic. The enmity between Trump’s supporters among Republican grassroots and opponents gravitating to the Democrat party is bordering on civil war.
There are reports of neighbors and even family members not talking to each other any longer, so alienated and acrimonious have opposing views become.
In a country where there is so much easy access to guns it is a very disturbing scenario facing the US. Added to that explosive mix the tendency for media manipulation of people and their passions, and it is not hard to see how the whole cauldron could explode very badly with violence.
There is no clear-cut good and bad guys here among the established political and media organizations. Trump’s incendiary style of demagogic politics is matched by his opponents in the Democrats and their supportive media. It is a case of a plague on all their houses.
Lamentably, the political discourse in the US has become embroiled in reactionary superficial ideology. Trump plays the populist card of claiming to defend ordinary American workers, when he is a billionaire plutocrat who is all about enriching his class.
The Democrats, referred absurdly to as “leftists”, base their attacks against Trump on completely reactionary and futile complaints, such as him allegedly being a “Russian stooge”.
In a country which has the world’s most wealth and yet the biggest rich-poor chasm, it is astounding that the most glaring issue of all is ignored in public political discourse – the issue of class and capitalist exploitation of millions of workers and their families.
America is in turmoil because of its oppressive, dysfunctional corporate capitalism. Neither of the two main political parties, nor the corporate news media, are giving any direction, or venting of the most fundamental problem in US society.
No wonder then that the political discourse and conduct is so reactionary, hate-filled, divisive and futile. Because the mass of people are being denied any constructive political leadership.
The divisiveness in the US is clearly on display over the mail bombs this week. But what is also clear is that the divisions and chaos in American society are an inherent problem to do with its economy and power structure.
It has nothing to do with “Russian interference”. The latter conspiracy theory is being exposed more than ever for the reactionary nonsense that it is, fomented by American politicians and media who have abdicated their relevance to the democratic and urgent social needs of their own people.
FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | SCF
The 21st Century